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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Worship and the Church

Sorry for the delay on this week's post...these Monday holidays will probably get me every time...

For many Christians worship is church. The Orthodox understand that the eucharist (holy communion) literally creates the church here on earth, as a foretaste of heaven to come. But even the most radical Free churchers (those who hold to little more than a shared faith system without the rituals, polities, and procedures of most) see worship as integral to church. So it seems silly to try and start a community, especially a church, without centering it on worship. But this is precisely the road Prairie Table is trying to take. What if you started with a community that eventually got around to worshiping?

Now, many who read this blog are vested in worshiping communities. They have loaded their careers up front to make worship their understanding of church, and to step outside that would leave them feeling abandoned, not only in terms of their skills and talents, but by God's own life and being. So, this approach is not for everyone, and I should confess that I too feel at a loss to contradict almost everything I ever learned in seminary, and most of my ministry career. I pretty much know what we can't do, but what CAN do?????? Mystery upon mystery

Prairie Table is not about proving their is a new way to worship God, but rather a new way to be together as God's children. For example, Prairie Table does not require that one adhere to one way to look at the cross or the other...the cross means what it means as God has invited all of us to carry ours, and to trust in Jesus as he bore his...but we all have to center our lives in Christ's cross and resurrection...Too often congregations use worship as the way to define who we are, rather than to see that worship defines who we believe God is (this is why congregations have to work hard to avoid sexist language for God, unless they believe God is sexist...) At Prairie Table we believe God is primarily about making, re-creating, and sustaining authentic community with God, with each other, and with our own selves. Therefore, any worship we do should reflect that somehow. Even better, it should witness and participate in that community...now that's worship.

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